skip to content

Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics: Georgian Parliament Misuses Media Conduct Rules

On June 6, the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics issued a statement saying that the Georgian Parliament continues to use the amendments adopted last year to the rules of conduct of media in legislature as a punitive tool against critical media.

In the past few days MPs have suspended the accreditation of four journalists from critical media: Natalia Kajaia and Maka Chikhladze of the opposition-leaning TV Pirveli; Sopho Gozalishvili of the opposition-leaning Formula TV; Nini Balanchivadze of opposition-leaning Mtavari TV;

It is noteworthy that the letter sent to all four journalists from the MP’s office standardizes the reason for the sanctions as follows: “When the MP refused to record the interview, you continued trying to record the interview and did not stop the videotaping”. The journalists say that the decision was made based on the criticism of the MPs, without any deliberation. Notably, these journalists can’t appeal the decision.

The Charter points out that after the adoption of the accreditation restrictions, the media and civil society expressed doubts about its aim to regulate relations between MPs and journalists. Their suspicions were confirmed when Parliament misused the resolution to induce self-censorship, intimidate journalists and isolate them from parliamentary processes.

Because accreditation is granted by name, media outlets cannot replace the sanctioned journalists. As a result, these journalists are barred from accessing first-hand information from the legislative body for one to six months, depending on a case.

The Charter notes that journalists report that their treatment and working conditions in Parliament have worsened since the resolution. It also notes that instead of being a model of openness and transparency, the Parliament is using all means to prevent independent media from asking critical questions.

The statement reads: “The MPs of the ruling party and its affiliated political forces do not understand the essence of their mandate. All their efforts are aimed at reducing contact with the critical media. The resolution, which is being implemented with particular eagerness and enthusiasm by certain members of the ruling party who are characterized by odious behavior, deprives the public of access to the ongoing legislative processes in the Parliament, in which the citizens have a legitimate interest.”

The Charter urges the Speaker of the Parliament to stop using this resolution as a tool against journalists, calls on the Ethics Council of the Parliament to review the aggressive behavior of MPs towards journalists, and asks the Public Defender to address this harmful practice that restricts media freedom and leaves thousands of people uninformed about legislative activities.


Back to top button